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9 To Compete in 'Bold and Beautiful' Pageant

Jan. 20, 2005 – Nine bold, beautiful and full-figured women from various Caribbean islands, including the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and the mainland United States will compete in the 2nd annual Ms. International Bold and Beautiful contest Saturday.
The event, scheduled for 8 p.m. at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center, will provide the ladies, who range in age from 18 to 44, with an opportunity to showcase their beauty and talent.
The Bold and Beautiful contest is the brainchild of Kevin Rodriquez and his wife Kimberly.
Rodriquez said he attended a local Ms. Big and Beautiful contest one year and a fellow audience member suggested an international contest for full-figured women. He and his wife then decided to create the Bold and Beautiful contest.
"When you have girls from different countries it brings a different flavor to the pageant," Rodriquez said.
Contestants for the event must have a dress size of 18 or over, must be at least 18 years old, and should have good stage presence and personality.
"It's not an absolute requirement that you must have won a pageant previously in your country," Debra Gottlieb, a pageant staff member, said, adding that some of the girls had.
Gottlieb said promotions were sent to the Tourism Departments of various states, countries and Caribbean Islands and eight women responded. In St. Thomas, the representative was chosen through an audition.
Gottlieb said the current Ms. Big and Beautiful was asked to participate but declined.
The women are judged based on their performance in seven different areas, including: a personal interview, an introductory speech, costume presentation, swimwear, talent, eveningwear and an on-stage interview.
The show will also feature several dance numbers and a presentation by 2004's Ms. International Bold and Beautiful, Valda Bruno, who hails from Dominica.
"We want to put together a show that's very entertaining," Gottlieb said, adding the audience enjoyed the first show last year. "Each year we want to do it bigger and better."
The nine contestants who will participate in this year's event are:
– USVI Delegate, Roxanne Whitfield, 32,
– Barbados Delegate, Camar Clarke, 21,
– British Virgin Islands, Delegate Tammi David, 22,
– Dominica Delegate, Anna Maria John, 23,
– Dominican Republic Delegate, Maggie Ventura, 44,
– Puerto Rico Delegate, Sheila Rodriguez, 18,
– St. Vincent Delegate, Kahailia Beach, 25,
– Tennessee Delegate, Robin Wilson, 33,
– and Trinidad and Tobago Delegate, La Verne Roberts, 23.
Beach, Clarke, David, John, Roberts and Whitfield have all previously participated in pageants.
John is the reigning Ms. Bold, Beautiful and Elegant in Dominica; Roberts is the reigning Ms. Big and Beautiful Trinidad, and Beach is the reigning Ms. Big and Beautiful St. Vincent.
Ventura, who is the oldest in the group, said, "I have never been the pageant type, but representing my country is an honor to me." She said she was approached and asked to participate in the pageant and decided to do it for her country.
Rodriguez, the youngest in the bunch, said she is excited to be a part of this project.
"I've always wanted to participate in a beauty pageant, but I never expected it existed for full-figured women," Rodriguez said.
Wilson, the only contestant not from the Caribbean, said the idea of coming to the Virgin Islands appealed to her.
"It was an excellent opportunity for me to travel outside of my country and meet women of different cultures," Wilson said. "As a hair stylist, I beautify and empower women daily, so this is an extension of myself."
Wilson said pageants often are about slim women, but the Bold and Beautiful pageant was a "much more accurate depiction of women."
Whitfield, a teacher at the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic School, said participating in the contest is an "awesome opportunity."
She added, "Most time when people see full-figured women they think, 'Poor thing.' This is an opportunity to see the real us."
Whitfield, who was the 2nd runner up in the Ms. Bold and Beautiful in 2002, said it was "good" to have such pageants to teach young full-figured ladies to love and accept their bodies and themselves.

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